Anthesizer II Spine

Type
Sound Installation
Author
Byungkyu Lee (Sound Design, Building the nests) Pablo Larrañaga Aramoni (Scenic Design for the Outworld)
Material
Piezo, Hydrostone Plaster, Acrylic Panels, Fiberoptics, Aquarium sand, Sculpt-It, Acrylic Paint, Glow-in-the-dark, Epoxy Resin
Software
MaxMSP
ant sp.
Veromessor pergandei
Year
2023

Ant + Synthesizer
Soundsacape of an ant colony in real time

THis series features another haRvestor ants, Veromessor pergandei. The main focus of this project is “Logistics”. How they collect, transport, and store their main resource, seeds.

It was so much fun working with my friend Pablo who helped me design the Outworld.

Exhibited at SEAMUS 2023, CalArts Expo 2023, Maker Music Festival 2023, ICAD 2023

Awarded by CalArts Interdisciplinary Grant

The Ants

Veromessor pergandei

or in short, Pergs

V. pergandei are harvester ants from Sonoran Desert, and as their nickname implies, their diet primarily rely on seeds.

Instead of consuming the seeds on site, they bring the seeds back to their nest.
They first store the seeds in sorting chamber, and then move them to the storing chamber, located deeper inside of their nest.

Anthesizer II Spine explores this complex logistics of harvester ants – how they transport, store, and distribute resources.

The Structure

Anthesizer II Spine is consisted of two parts: the Outworld, and the Nest.

Outworld

The Outworld is a place where ants forage and seek for foods.

There are four contact mics placed inside the Outworld area covered with seeds— site A, B, C, and D.

* The mic placements for site B and D on the image above are slightly different from the actual exhibition due to the change we made during the making process.

Nest

The Nest is a place where the queen and her broods dwell. This is also the place where they store their foods.

There are two Nests: Nest 1 Sorting Chamber and Nest 2 Storing Chamber  —each has a single contact mic built inside.

The Nests are made of Hydrostone Plaster.
I came up with hybrid design combining horizontal and vertical style which helped the audience observe them much easier.

The patch

Ants’ activities of collecting and moving seeds in each site are picked up by these mics and go straight into MaxMSP patch.

Input Section

First the signal from the contact mic is amplified and filtered.

Whenever input signal goes over the threshold, it starts loop recording for few seconds and stops automatically. When it reaches the end point, it goes back to the starting point and overwrites the previous recording.

This recording is played back in altering speed, and then goes through stereo ping pong delay.

Zoom in!

Input Section

First the signal from the contact mic is amplified and filtered.

Whenever input signal goes over the threshold, it starts loop recording for few seconds and stops automatically. When it reaches the end point, it goes back to the starting point and overwrites the previous recording.

This recording is played back in altering speed, and then goes through stereo ping pong delay.

Radio Communication

I used the recordings of random Radio Communication in a way to relate the ants activity of collecting and moving their resources to ours, as if they are communicating with walkie-talkies.

It is being played through a simple Granular synthesis whenever it is triggered by input sections. The Granular Synth patch is an element from my previous work 4×4 with slight modifications.

The Original Recordings -> CLICK HERE
The Original Patch -> CLICK HERE

Zoom in!

Radio Communication

I used the recordings of random Radio Communication in a way to relate the ants activity of collecting and moving their resources to ours, as if they are communicating with walkie-talkies.

It is being played through a simple Granular synthesis whenever it is triggered by input sections. The Granular Synth patch is an element from my previous work 4×4 with slight modifications.

The Original Recordings -> CLICK HERE
The Original Patch -> CLICK HERE

Ambient Pad

The Ambient pad is a sound synthesized with simple FM Synthesis algorithm.

It plays back certain notes in octaves, but slightly off of precise pitch which gives interesting texture to it. The base note alters its pitch whenever it is triggered by input sections by chance.

Alongside the radio communication sound, this also implies a narrative of ants sending signals to each other from each sites.

The Original gen~ patch -> CLICK HERE

Zoom in!

Ambient Pad

The Ambient pad is a sound synthesized with simple FM Synthesis algorithm.

It plays back certain notes in octaves, but slightly off of precise pitch which gives interesting texture to it. The base note alters its pitch whenever it is triggered by input sections by chance.

Alongside the radio communication sound, this also implies a narrative of ants sending signals to each other from each sites.

The Original gen~ patch -> CLICK HERE

Thanks to:

Kuai Shen, Richard Muhdar, Marcel Riccelli, Trevor Desai, Joy Lee, Jamie Lee, all the members of Ants & Ant Keeping Discord server, and my parents whom I love the most.

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